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Emma Fawcett discusses the trap of "tech spaghetti"
Episode 8215th August 2022 • The History of the Australian Startup Ecosystem • Welcome to Day One
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Emma Fawcett is General Manager, SME at MYOB, a cloud-based business management platform fit for Enterprise, SME & startup businesses. Prior to working at MYOB, Emma has worked in a variety of roles in B2B and digital businesses, including Managing Director of Commercial Product and Platforms at News Corp Australia. In her conversation with Adam, Emma discusses the trap of “tech spaghetti” which some business owners fall into, where they are attempting to manage their business across multiple platforms that aren’t always integrated effectively, as well as her belief that excellent execution is at least as important as a great idea for startups.

See full show notes: https://w2d1.com/emma-fawcett



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Transcripts

Adam Spencer [:

Hi, I'm Adam Spencer, and Welcome to Day One, the podcast that spotlights Australian startups, founders, and the organizations that empower Australian entrepreneurship. We go back to the beginning to tell a story of Australia's most inspiring founders and how they built their companies. You're listening to a special interview series as part of a documentary W2D1 is producing about the history of the Australian startup ecosystem. On the episode today, we have-

Emma Fawcett [:

My name's Emma Fawcett, and I'm the general manager of SME for MYOB.

Adam Spencer [:

What exactly does a SME manager do at MYOB?

Emma Fawcett [:

So, as the general manager for SME, I really look after our small to medium business customers. So, it's my job to run that whole area of the business. So, we set the vision and strategy for where we want to go, we make sure we're delivering really high quality products to market, and then we make sure that we're really delivering for customers and their needs right through to the ways that we help them to grow and run their business and help them when they get stuck.

Adam Spencer [:

I'm really interested to dive into how the delivery of those products have changed over the last 20 years because obviously, in the digital age, things have changed a lot. The landscape is changing rapidly, so I'm assuming that the way you guys are approaching not only the products for your customers, but how you're delivering those products has changed a lot, and I'm really interested to learn more about that. But before we kind of get into all of that, what would you say was your very first exposure to this thing that we call the startup ecosystem in Australia?

Emma Fawcett [:

Yeah. My first exposure was probably through a startup hub in Sydney, actually, where I was involved in a sponsorship program for startups. That would've been about eight, 10 years ago, and I just loved it. I loved the passion and energy of the founders that we encountered there, the vision that they have for their business, what they're trying to create, the gnarly problems they're trying to solve, I just, I loved all of it. So, I've been hooked on helping startups ever since that first exposure.

Adam Spencer [:

So, about 10 years ago you said. That's rough. As I mentioned before we hit record, we've done around 150 interviews with a variety of people, founders, investors, academics, all sorts of people in the ecosystem, and about 10 years ago is around 2012, and that's kind of when everyone seems to roughly agree that that's really when the ecosystem started to kick off. So, you got involved at the perfect time when a lot of activity was start to happen. From your point of view though, what was it like? How big was the community? What organizations were around that you could see? Give me a bit of a sense of what the ecosystem looked like for you at that stage.

Emma Fawcett [:

Yeah. Well, as I said, I got involved through a startup hub, and at that time, I didn't know how many or few startup hubs there were. I was working for a media and marketing company at the time, a very big and well known one, and they approached us saying, "Hey we'd love to run some competitions for our startups to get access to some marketing. Do you want to be involved?" And I jumped at it. So, I think I saw back then, yeah, the start of the organization, if you like, and this startup hub in particular who had got a few partners on board, people who could really help these startups take their idea from idea to sort of growth.

Emma Fawcett [:

I think with the support I saw at that time was some large organizations such as the one I was working for getting involved, some real leaders of the community starting to go, "Hey, we're better together. We can run programs and we can really put some meat behind this thing," but I also think that the ecosystem itself became really supportive. I think just the rise of technology enabled them to connect, and social media, to connect with each other more easily, and what always sticks out to me was the way that founders in their startup hubs would help each other. They'd sit side by side, have a completely different business ideas, but one might have a background as a lawyer and the other one might have a background in sales and marketing, and they would share their skills in order to help each other's businesses, and I thought that was fabulous.

Adam Spencer [:

Part of the process that we go through with all of the interviews is we really comb through them and try to find themes and similarities between the answers, and that is one that comes up a lot, just the supportive nature of the Australian hub community. Everyone is supporting everybody else, and so many people point to that as one of the great things about the ecosystem. So, that's awesome. Before I ask you around about MYOB's origin, because I know you have a great answer there, what attracted you to your role now with MYOB? How'd you get started?

Emma Fawcett [:

Yeah, I was approached to join MYOB probably nearly two years ago now, and I knew of MYOB. I mean, it's the OG startup unicorn in Australia. How could you not know about it? But the more I talked to the people here, the more I decided this was the place I wanted to spend the next tranche of my career. It's a really purpose-driven organization. We genuinely care about our customers. It's got hugely smart and talented people working for it, and in this space in particular, amongst a sea of global competitors, we are proudly Australia and New Zealand focused. It just felt like the perfect place for me to join, and been here 18 months now and loving it.

Adam Spencer [:

We've got MYOB in one of our outlined docs for the documentary a start date of 1991 which predates realestate.com.au, carsales, Seek, all of those big names that consumers are very aware of, but just before you hit record, you said you've got a really interesting story that even predates that 1991.

Emma Fawcett [:

Yeah, yeah. Do you want me to tell you how MYOB came to be?

Adam Spencer [:

Please, yes.

Emma Fawcett [:

Yep. So, yeah, in today's terms, we all know what a unicorn is, but if you take that back to kind of 1991 when MYOB was formed, we are Australia's first unicorn. I think that's such an incredible legacy to have, but yeah, the story actually dates back to 1986, and I can't recall the guy's name, but the story goes in the US, there was a computer programmer, a really smart guy who'd been asked by Apple to design the first software for what would become the Mac, but he decided he wasn't going to do that, and he was going to go out on his own instead and try and build something to help small businesses take what was hugely manual processes into technology. And so, this was in 1986. So, this guy is sitting there in 1986 working on this software, and he called it MYOB.

Emma Fawcett [:

And then the two founders of MYOB, another great story about how we started, they actually met in an airport when their plane was delayed, and they got talking, and decided that they were kindred spirits, and that they shared this vision to help small businesses. So, the two of them got together and started looking around the world and actually found this fledgling little company in the US and brought it to Australia. So, and that was in 1991, and then from there, I think we followed that well-worn startup path, right? They were running the business from a spare bedroom, self packing these floppy disks and this tech and shipping it out to retail stores. Yeah, the rest is history.

Adam Spencer [:

Storytelling in business in general and in startups is so important. That's a fantastic origin story. There's no way that's ever going to be my origin story because the last thing I want to do is talk to someone at an airport.

Emma Fawcett [:

Oh, I know.

Adam Spencer [:

I just sit there on my phone.

Emma Fawcett [:

Well, this was in 1991, they didn't have phones. He had nothing to do, but talk to strangers.

Adam Spencer [:

Yeah. I want to take a slight detour here before we jump back into the changes MYOB has made to keep up in the digital age. For people that are listening to this, little bit of a sneak preview in that we are in the early phase of development for a new series all around diversity, inclusion, and equality within the startup community because it's come up so often in interviews that we've done, but we are not going to be able to give it the air time it deserves in that documentary because we're trying to cover so much in such a short amount of time in the documentary. So, we're spinning out a new series to talk about that, but I'm just curious, can you speak to what MYOB is doing internally and externally to promote inclusivity, diversity within the organization?

Emma Fawcett [:

Yeah, absolutely. I didn't say this before, but one of the reasons I joined MYOB as well was that with me joining, our executive team is 50% male and 50% female, and that is rare in and of itself in a big company, right?

Adam Spencer [:

It is, yes.

Emma Fawcett [:

In my last company, I think there was two of us women and about 10 men. So, that was a definitely a part I joined. We really, we championed that, and we mean it from the top down. It's not just a number. Our executive team is 50/50. We're just not seeing enough women lead startups. I mean, I'm sure you've got the stats, but there's something like solely female-founded companies receive only 4% of funding. It's quite unbelievable, and we certainly see in our business that women are underrepresented in tech. So, what we're doing to try and improve that is externally, and I think this program's awesome, we run a program called DevelopHer which is a six-month paid scholarship to a coding bootcamp, which leads to employment as a dev in our team, and we are targeting career changes and women returning to work who maybe have had a break.

Emma Fawcett [:

Our latest cohort of DevelopHer devs just came in, and their stories are awesome. We have a pharmacist who decided she didn't want to spend her life in a chemist anymore and wanted to retrain, and we had a return-to-work mum who had actually been in marketing and wanted something completely different, and they do our six months. We pay for it, this six-month scholarship and then are able to get guaranteed jobs, and every year we take those on.

Emma Fawcett [:

We also have things like great policies at MYOB. We have leave for people transitioning or affirming their gender. We also have leave for women or men experiencing domestic or family violence, and flexibility, and two other things I want to mention is flexibility and dress code. So, we are about outcomes, not time in the office. So, we're flexible not just in hours and location, but in how you work and learn as well. And then finally, having a casual dress policy is something we really enforce. It's not only great because you get to wear jeans to work every day, and it's not usually the first thing that comes to mind for inclusivity either, but it really supports everyone to come to work, right? They don't have to worry about spending money on a uniform to wear to work. They can come and be who they are into work.

Adam Spencer [:

So, back on track around the evolution of the Australian startup ecosystem and the fast-paced nature as technology continues to disrupt and change our world, what are you guys doing at MYOB to keep up? As I mentioned at the top of the interview, that is probably changing the way that you deliver products to customers, and also the type of products that you're delivering to customers. How're you keeping up?

Emma Fawcett [:

Yeah. And it's funny, I'm in the office right now, and I'm actually looking over at the right, we have a shelf, and we have all of our products from their life stage and how they've moved over time, from these boxes that we would put in retailers, and people would buy, and they'd download, and they'd had the software for life, and it did one thing right through to now this business management platform we've built that really, a small business can go online, they can sign up, and they can be live with it, and they can be running across all of their workflows this amazing software that should make their life heaps easier. It's been a huge transformation, right, shipping software in a box for the first sort of 15 years of our life, and then having to take that customer base from desktop software through to cloud-based products, and then to keep up with what our customers want and need which is more and more digitization in their business, meaning we have to offer more and more things.

Emma Fawcett [:

It's been a huge change, and I would say that keeping up is not enough. You've really got to stay ahead to keep growing and try and be anticipating where your customers want to go which means keeping head of trends, right, both in technology advancements and where customers are headed. To do this, we do a ton of research into our customers, and we try and stay connected both with the broader business communities and governments as well because when it comes to small businesses, governments are having a really big say in what they want small businesses to do. Particularly in our space, GST was an absolute game-changer for us because overnight it meant that accounting for small businesses got a lot more complex. So, yeah, it's a huge change that we've made over 31 years as you'd imagine, and we are really proud to sort of still be leading that for the businesses across Australia and New Zealand.

Adam Spencer [:

How are you keeping in touch with customers? You mentioned keeping in touch with government because they're having a big say on small businesses. What do you guys do to keep in touch with your customers and finger on the pulse kind of thing?

Emma Fawcett [:

Yeah, yeah. We have so many customer inputs coming in. That's the great thing about cloud-based software, right? Our customers are sending us signals all day, every day with what they're using, what they're accessing, the pages they stay on, the pages they leave, the workflows they use, how in depth they're using those. So, we're always taking all this data, right, and we're always feeding this data into our systems to go, "Okay, this is more important for customers, let's work on that." So, we've got sort of all of this data just coming in from our 1.3 million customers every day that we're using to learn and get better.

Emma Fawcett [:

And then we research. Well, there's research, but I've got to put that aside actually for a sec. So, we have this customer data from actual usage. Then we also have customer interactions, right? Customers lean on us for advice. They do contact us with questions about government regulation, or laws, or how they need to calculate payroll, or how they use inventory management. So, we get a lot of incoming feedback from customers that we use, and I'm talking tens of thousands of interactions with customers a month that we categorize and use to learn from. And then we've got research. We do two major research pieces a year, our MYOB business monitor that give us a really good health check across Australia and New Zealand. There is in-product surveys, there is CSAT surveys, and there are individual research studies that are going on every week of the year with different cohorts of customers.

Emma Fawcett [:

So, yeah, we know a lot about what's going on with small business which is actually why the government wants to talk to us. They do use us, and they did right through COVID as a bit of a bellwether, how are small business is faring, what are you hearing from them, what support do you think they need, which means we're actually in a position to advocate and influence governments on their behalf as well.

Adam Spencer [:

I want to jump back in the timeline for a second. As I mentioned that 2012 roughly was when things started to really coalesce and the community really started to kind of ramp up in Australia, so between that 2012 and today, what would you say has been the biggest change that MYOB has had to adapt to?

Emma Fawcett [:

Yeah. Definitely transitioning our customer base to the cloud. That's been a huge multi-year program of work for us, taking customers on that journey, customers who'd been using software in one way and were quite happy with it, and sort of showing them the benefits of moving to the cloud, overcoming any concerns they had about moving to the cloud, and really taking them, taking hundreds of thousands of customers on that journey was probably the biggest change, as well as developing that future-fit software as well.

Adam Spencer [:

I'm assuming that would've been an operational nightmare in terms of project management, and even me just trying to project manage 150 interviews like that has got me at my wits end, so I can't imagine what it would, transitioning a hundred thousand customers.

Emma Fawcett [:

Oh, hundreds.

Adam Spencer [:

Hundreds of thousands.

Emma Fawcett [:

Hundreds of thousands. Yeah, yep, yep. Oh, look, you get really good at it after a while is all I'm going to say.

Adam Spencer [:

Yep. And also on that, the delivery of the product changed... First of all, has the product changed, the actual product? Has it changed much?

Emma Fawcett [:

Oh yeah, huge. It used to just be accounting software that did ledgers and balances and was for accountants mostly, and small business customers had to adapt to that, to something that now is still awesome for accountants and bookkeepers and other professional services, but really, for a small business is so much more intuitive and easy to use, and as I said, it has gone so far beyond just accounting into things like inventory management, and payroll, and job management, and document management. There's this whole host of other workflows that we can cater. I think that's the big change, and being in the cloud means it's customizable as well, right? So, customers can start with the core platform and then add on the extra features and services they need for their business. So, I think that flexibility for customers is a real change. We like to say that our platform helps customers be connected, adaptable, and decisive in that it connects all their key workflows, helps them understand where their businesses is at so they can make decisions and make the right decisions, but it's adaptable so that they only pay for what they need.

Emma Fawcett [:

But I do want to mention one other thing which is the delivery. You talked about delivery. If you think about desktop software, they ship infrequently, right, because you are shipping product. You are putting it in a store, and you can't get it wrong. So, you have these really long lead times, and you're building up to this crescendo where you're shipping something, and maybe you're shipping it quarterly, or you're shipping it twice a year. You're spending all this time, and then it goes out. It literally used to go out on the truck to stores, right? We've gone from that to a completely agile focus business with where we are releasing 2, 3, 4 times a day. So, the shift our workforce has been on in the ways that we deliver software over that time is quite incredible, and we actually have devs here who've be working for us for 25, 30 years who've been on that journey from these big releases to just this iterative process where we release several times a day.

Adam Spencer [:

Yeah, that's the way things are these days, and there are new companies popping up all the time. Obviously, this is just the only way they've ever done it, this kind of lean or shorter feedback cycle where, as you said, you can ship stuff multiple times a day, updates to the product. My question in this is do you think organizations that have been around, like MYOB, for a long time, do you think they're at a disadvantage or an advantage in that they used to do it one way and have had to make this massive change, and like you said, change the workforce massively to now deliver things in the way that they're being delivered now? Do you think that's a disadvantage or an advantage over new companies that they just kind of this is the only way they've ever done it?

Emma Fawcett [:

I think it's an excellent question, and in a way, I think it's, I'm going to answer honestly, and say it's both. Obviously, you're at a disadvantage because you do have to take your workforce on this change, and you literally have to change your product, and there's a period of time where you're maintaining the old and building the new, right? So, just from a resource perspective, of course, you're disadvantaged against a pure play who's not having to manage older technology or older tech stacks or making that customer transition because a lot of effort goes into that.

Emma Fawcett [:

So, on surface level, sure, probably a disadvantage. But what I'd say is the advantage to that and why I think we're better off, and we're a far better business is we've got two things going for us in that regard that newer businesses don't have. One is everyone knows our brand, and we've built up so much trust and love with customers and deep understanding of customers over those that time. I think that's a huge advantage. And the other thing I think that the changes our people have been through is they're super resilient, right? We are a really resilient business that's adaptable and ready for change which means you can throw anything at MYOB and we can cope. Pandemic, no problems, zombie infestation, we'd with cope with that, versus I think that resilience may not be there in businesses that haven't been on the journey we've been on.

Adam Spencer [:

In regards to the product, MYOB's product, like you said, is very customizable. You can start small, you can choose what you need. How, and if you do anything differently to help founders compared to your everyday small business owner, is there a different approach that you guys take to helping founders?

Emma Fawcett [:

We do. We have a real focus on startups. We are involved in a lot of startup and accelerator programs. We generally run promotions where we know founders, they're often bootstrapping their business and money is scarce. We know they are the business type most likely to be losing the most time to disconnection because often it's just them and they're trying to do everything and they're managing their business in excel, and oftentimes it's taking as much as a day a week. So, we do do a lot for startups. If your business is under two years old, we have a permanent offer that's very good value. Don't ask me what it is because I can't recall it right now, but I know we have a particular startup offer that's very discounted, and often for a lot of accelerator programs, we will even say, "Hey, everyone that does this accelerator program gets 12 months free just to help you get going."

Emma Fawcett [:

And then our website, over 30 years of content, is incredibly rich in terms of content for founders who go even if they just have the idea in their head and are searching for resources, highly recommend that they come and check out MYOB's blog because there is just everything from you've got a business idea, what do you do now, through to how do you incorporate a business name, what do you need to think about legally, what do you need to think about from getting your right team together, where do you need to start digitized versus where can you start analog and digitize later. There is just a truckload of resources that we try and make available to help founders, as well as I've said we do actually sponsor a few specific startup things. In New Zealand, we're actually sponsoring a startup accelerator program that's particularly for women, for women founders, so really bring that to life. Yeah, it was the first female-only accelerator launched, I think it was launched earlier this year by the Ministry of Awesome which is an awesome name.

Adam Spencer [:

Yeah, oh yes, it an awesome name. Yeah, I know about it. Having gone through this massive change, and I know you've been with the business for... Was it two years?

Emma Fawcett [:

Yeah, 18 months, yeah.

Adam Spencer [:

18 months. With all those lessons learned as an organization, do you have any advice, or how do you advise founders and small business owners to help keep up in this digital world?

Emma Fawcett [:

Yeah. It's probably two pieces of advice I would offer there. The first would be use digital solutions wisely. We've done a lot of research. We know that there is good digitization and bad digitization in a business. Good digitization is where, and it's a hard word to say, digitization, but good digitization is where it makes businesses more profitable. Through COVID, a lot of businesses invested here, and they are now reporting back to us in all our research, "I am more profitable. I am making more money." It's a lot more profitable. Good digitization looks like getting the right systems in place, making sure that they're integrated, making sure your data is flowing correctly around them, and that they're all syncing and talking to each other which is our real point of difference.

Emma Fawcett [:

We've built everything into the platform so that you don't have to leave, versus bad digitization is you go out and you go, "I'm going to find a piece of software to do invoicing, and I'm going to find a piece of software to do expenses, and I'm going to find an accounting solution, and I'm going to find a separate inventory management solution." And then you, as the founder, you have to manage all that, and that's just such a time impost and overhead. Plus, a lot of founders are not tech. They're not the It guy, and they end up trying to manage all of this software versus going... We think particularly small businesses should just be going for one player, like an MYOB, who can do all of that for you. So, my first piece of advice, use digital solutions wisely, choose wisely, invest your money in the right places.

Emma Fawcett [:

And then the second one would be founders I find often have a really great idea, and they're passionate about that idea, and they get this set of customers, and then they focus on growing, and they focus on growing whatever the service, or the thing, the widget that they have, and you do see some of them forgetting to adapt with their industry and customers. So, I think my second piece of advice was be adaptable and be ready to flex. Your competitors are not going to stay the same and your customers are not going to stay the same so you can't just get fixated on growing your business. You've got to be thinking alongside that, "Right, I need to grow. How do I also adapt?" Technology is going to keep advancing where we're seeing such rapid rate of change, how do you make sure you're keeping up to date with trends and where you think the customer experience is going to be in a few years, and making sure you're making time and space to keep pace with that.

Adam Spencer [:

Yeah. Always be absorbing more information, right, about what's going on around you.

Emma Fawcett [:

Yep.

Adam Spencer [:

And also, on your first point, W2D1 Media really struggled with that in the first couple of years, mix and matching all these different solutions, and trying to get them to all work together, such a time suck, wasted so much time trying to make all those different systems work together.

Emma Fawcett [:

Yeah, because you go, "I want to be a startups and I'm going to be completely digitized. I'm going to be paperless. I'm going to sign up all these things." And then you're like, "Ah, I've got..." We call it tech spaghetti, and you just trying to make it all work, and most people will after a while retire two or three and look for a more, for want of a better term, all-in-one or platform that can kind of do a lot of that all in one place. It's way easier.

Adam Spencer [:

Yeah. When I spoke to Hayden a couple weeks ago, we touched, and I'm really interested about this, what prompted you guys internally to step back and reevaluate the focus within the business, and how did you get to these pillars of connection, adaptability, and decisiveness? Can you talk me through that process that you guys went through?

Emma Fawcett [:

Yeah, no problems. It was really came from all of our customer feedback that we got. It was from customers getting on the chat or calling us and saying, "Hey, I'm struggling to get MYOB to work with X, Y, Z. Can you help me?" or, "Hey, I'm losing all of this time every week," because we go out and say how could we help you better, "I spend every Friday just taking my pay run from this spreadsheet and then uploading it into your system, but then because I've got a separate payroll system, I need to upload it twice, and all of this is taking so much time." We just did a lot of research, particularly into what new businesses so startups and small SME businesses want and need, and then that's where we came up with this theory of good digitization versus bad digitization, and then going, "Okay, how do we empower good digitization, given that is where the government and the world is driving these businesses?" Through things like Single Touch Payroll and the New Zealand Holiday Act, they are driving these businesses to have to be digitized. They're going to not have a choice.

Emma Fawcett [:

I mean, we pushed the government, and we're thrilled that this came out in Australia for the tax rebate for software to make it affordable for customers, for small businesses to digitize, and the government estimates there's upwards of 10 billion upside in the economy if small businesses can digitize. So, there's a real focus on that. So, we went, "Okay, this is not going to go away." We saw that through COVID, it's created a generational shift. What do our businesses need, and they need good digitization, and that's been something we've had in mind I think back since before I joined from, 2019, and we've been working to bring that to life because the other competitors of ours, they want businesses to have to sign up and use several different types of software and then manage their own integrations, and customers who leave our competitors and come to us say that that's a huge overhead, but also costs them hundreds of thousands of dollars a month. We don't think it has to be like that.

Emma Fawcett [:

We think that we can help them, as I said, with good digitization, with everything in one platform that actually does sync with... We realize we're not going to be able to meet all needs. So, we make sure that we have great integrations, but the core workflows you need to do in a business, generating revenue, managing suppliers, managing work in progress, managing payroll, and managing your tax, you can do in one place with us. So, that's really where, as I said, that connected, decisive, adaptable comes from. Stay connected, save time, reduce your costs, be decisive because your data is syncing so well, you have this holistic view of how you're operating, and you've got data integrity that you lose when you connect multiple systems, and then adaptable because you can get our base platform, if you like, and if you're not paying anyone and you don't need payroll, don't pay for payroll. Yeah, it's really quite adaptable and allows businesses to tailor what they want.

Adam Spencer [:

I have one big question that I end every single interview on.

Emma Fawcett [:

Yeah.

Adam Spencer [:

I'll ask you that in a second, but just, you don't need to have an answer for it because we might have covered everything in the interview, but before I ask that question, I just need to ask this one too. Is there anything that you want to cover or talk about that I didn't ask you today?

Emma Fawcett [:

No, I don't think so. I think we've had a pretty wide-ranging chat today.

Adam Spencer [:

Covered a lot, yes, covered a lot.

Emma Fawcett [:

Yeah, we did lot.

Adam Spencer [:

Great. The last question is as you might know what we're trying to do with these 150 interviews is to create a documentary that will as holistically and as close to the truth that we can get it with talking to 150 different people, create a documentary that's going to tell the story of the Australian startup ecosystem. We want everybody in the startup community to listen to this story. Founders, investors, academics, policy-makers, any one of those categories or all of them, what do they need to hear from you, Emma?

Emma Fawcett [:

I'm actually going to give you the advice that I'd give when... As I said, I've been lucky enough through involvement in the startup ecosystem to be approached for advice from some founders from time to time, and the advice I always give is keep in mind that a big idea and a killer plan is not enough to guarantee you a unicorn business. It's really not. You see so many founders and the idea is always right and the strategy is always killer. They always have this awesome plan because founders are generally smart, they're savvy, they're well educated, but it's not enough to guarantee you a unicorn business. It takes excellent execution, and I think everyone underestimates how hard executing is. You spoke about it yourself in your business. You start out and then you get in the reality of customers and deadlines and suppliers and people. So, it takes excellent execution.

Emma Fawcett [:

So, put the time into learning how to execute excellently and run your operations really well. It's, in my opinion, as important or maybe more important than a big idea and a killer plan. And my other bit is sometimes we don't like to admit, a bit of luck, right place, right time, right connection, right funding is also required. So, if you fail the first time, doesn't mean you're not cut out or your idea or your plan wasn't right. Maybe it was your execution or maybe you didn't get the luck you needed to be successful.

Adam Spencer [:

Thank you so much for your time today, Emma.

Emma Fawcett [:

No problems.

Adam Spencer [:

I hope you enjoyed that interview. More interviews are on the way. Follow the podcast wherever you're listening right now. Stay tuned for more interviews with many, many more amazing people from the Australian startup ecosystem. Thanks for listening, and see you next time.

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